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China: Twin boom towns

Smart investors seek out the SARs

Macau: bigger betting than Las Vegas

Much of the smart money seeking profits from China's extraordinary economic growth is finding its way into the country's two special administrative regions, Hong Kong and Macau, where the upside from China's rising prosperity can be tapped within western-style markets and the rule of law. The effect of all this capital inflow is likely to be profound, as Asian independent broker CLSA points out in the release of two research reports: 'The Two Donalds: Boomtown revisited' and 'Macau Mania: the real deal'.

With Hong Kong welcoming new SAR chief executive Donald Tsang, widely regarded as a cut above his predecessor, Tung Chee Wah; and also Donald Duck, with the opening in the autumn of Hong Kong Disneyland, the SAR, claims CLSA, is set to enjoy better governance as well as a sharp increase in tourist arrivals and corresponding jobs. That will translate into a Hang Seng Index of 20,000 by 2008, reckon CLSA, compared with 14,300 today.

The spending power of China's nouveau riche is even more evident in Macau, where tourist arrivals are expected to climb to 20 million this year, making the tiny former Portuguese enclave one of the top-10 tourist destinations globally.

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